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Jeff Kaplan

Founder, New Living   |  

Seven years ago, Jeff started New Living, a green building and home store that became the first certified B Corp (or Benefit Corporation) that was a retail store in the US. A social entrepreneur from a young age, Jeff founded Urban Land Institute’s national Young Leaders Program at 21, and later cofounded Wulfe Urban, an urban development consulting and brokerage team under the auspices of Wulfe & Co. Jeff has helped develop many small, socially impactful businesses in Houston’s inner-city, including Caroline Collective, The Green Painter, Trentino Gelato, Byrd’s Market, Beaver’s Ice House and Sammy’s @ 2016 Main. He has served on the boards of The Blackwood Educational Land Institute, The Urban Land Institute, The Rice Building Institute, the Architypes steering committee for the AIA, and The Great Plains Council. In 2011 he was named a “Green Hero” by the Houston Chapter of the United States Green Building Council.

Dr. EunSook Kwon

Director, Industrial Design Program at University of Houston

Dr. Kwon is an Associate Professor at the University of Houston Hines College of Architecture and the director of the UH Industrial Design program. Her research interests include human-centered design, social and mindful design, design education, and constructivist learning.

Dr. Jordan Miller

Assistant Professor, Rice University   |  

Jordan Miller uses chemistry, rapid prototyping, and open source tools to create microenvironments for living human cells to understand the process of vascularization. One of Dr. Miller's current projects is 3-D printing vascular systems that can transport blood. He founded the Advanced Manufacturing Research Institute (AMRI) and is a core developer of the Rep Rap project.

Dane Witbeck

CEO, Meshify   |  

Tech executive working at the intersection of hardware and software. I believe in decisions based on data. Fostering a culture of innovative problem-solving and independent thinking is a goal I am working on everyday. I build products that have the potential to make a large impact for many people and/or organizations.


Eric Arnold

Model Shop Coordinator, Burdette Keeland Jr. Design Exploration Center at the University Of Houston

Eric Arnold is the Model Shop Coordinator for the Burdette Keeland Jr. Design Exploration Center at the University Of Houston College Of Architecture and the Digital Fabrication Manager. He is currently working towards his Post-Professional Master’s degree in Architecture with a focus on digital fabrication and received his Bachelor of Architecture Degree from the University of Houston in 2010. He researches on the integration of advanced computing technologies into the architectural design process. He works on various personal and professional projects with natural & synthetic building materials, including concrete, metals, plastics, polymers, and wood in all scales ‐ from model making, to woodworking, to fabrication. He specializes in digital design and fabrication and enjoys working at the intersection of design, craftsmanship, community, and education. For the past 5 years Eric has maintained the Live Design Initiative (LDi) (, a professional design studio focusing on digitally designed projects with community involvement, interior applications and residential design.

Brittany Bly

Founder, Pop Shop America   |  

Brittany Bly is the founder of Pop Shop America, an indie craft, art, and music festival. She also organizes Mini Pops, a monthly market in Montrose, and Eat, a farmer's market in the Heights. Brittany also makes clothing and accessories under the labels Potions, Math Attack, & Laundry Line.

Gira Desai

Co-founder, Aleberry Creative   |  

Gira co-founded Aleberry Creative Group in 2009.

Aleberry Creative Group is an award-winning design studio based in Houston. ABCG specializes in branding & design, and has been showcased by Adobe since 2011.

Gira is a graphic designer, entrepreneur, and lover of colors & typography.

Jim Foreman

Co-founder, Coconnect   |  

Mechanical Engineer turned web developer. Jim is the owner of Blue Smoke, a web design firm that focuses on building and hosting high traffic websites. Jim has competed in two previous Startup Weekend events, each time leading at team to finish in the top 3. His current startup, Coconnect, was launched at Startup Weekend in November 2013.

Dave Morris

Founder, 3DCAMP Houston

Dave is the founder of 3DCAMP Houston, a free conference for 3D professionals from various industries including architecture, engineering, film, television, game development, health, geophysical, and education. While attending school at Texas A&M, Dave helped create a popular open source 3D modeling application that has been downloaded over 100,000 times by users around the world since 2007. Dave also taught courses at Texas A&M at the graduate and undergraduate level dealing with graphic design, computer aided drafting, 3D modeling and animation, and architectural design. For the past six years Dave has been working as a technology consultant at Pariveda Solutions, where he has developed an expertise in web and mobile app development, data analytics, and user experience design.

Anderson Ta

Researcher, Rice University   |  

Anderson is a digital fabrication expert and likes to make things! He has blogged about his 3d printing adventures at: Anderson has led some of the very first 3D printer build workshops in the United States.

Roland Von Kurnatowski

Executive Vice President, TX/RX Labs   |  

Born in New Orleans, Roland has always had a passion for electronics and fabrication. Educated at Rice University, Roland holds a B.S. in Computer Science and Sociology. During his college career Roland worked summers as a welder. After Graduation Roland worked as J2EE Application Developer for JP Morgan Chase for 7 years before founding his own Software and IT Services Corporation. Roland currently serves as the Executive Vice President of TX/RX Labs and has spent the last 3.5 years at the lab mastering and teaching skills such as Soldering, Electronics Design/Diagnostics, and CNC Operation.

Dr. Matthew Wettergreen

Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen, Rice University   |   LinkedIn

Bioengineering PhD with computational implant design, rapid prototyping experience. Currently, Lecturer at Rice University teaching digital design/fabrication, visualization, physical prototyping, entrepreneurship, and mentoring engineering design teams. Previous life as the co-founder of Caroline Collective, Do713, and the designer of Record Monsters. Big on coworking, rapid prototyping, design, teaching, and meeting passionate people.



Apr 25
  • Registration Starts
  • Dinner & Networking
  • Welcome & Speakers
  • Pitches Start
  • Attendees vote for the top ideas
  • Teams start forming and discussing ideas
  • Start to formalize teams and take an inventory of skills. Be honest, and direct about what resources and skills are needed for the weekend. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow


Apr 26
  • Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee
  • Teams formed and setting up workspace for the weekend
  • Lunch
  • Call for needs & skills
  • Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!
  • Dinner
  • Mid weekend check-in, status reports, call for help
  • Finished for the day. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow


Apr 27
  • Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee
  • Call for help (this is self motivated, so don’t be shy)
  • Lunch
  • Coaches arrive… ASK QUESTIONS
  • Gut check. Start prepping for presentations
  • Dinner
  • Judging & awards
  • Wrapup
  • Go home!
Jeff Reichman
Dr. Hesam Panahi
Michael Tsai
Ben Ochoa
Mia Mundy

New Videos Are Up!

by swhouston

Hey everyone! We are counting down the days for Startup Weekend to begin. Here are some videos to give you […]

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